Why are Education Standards necessary?
Is TICO testing us on basic travel industry knowledge?
Once I get my Education Standards Certificate, can I sell travel services?
Where in Ontario Regulation 26/05 does it refer to TICO Education Standards?
I work in a Call Centre- do TICO Education Standards affect me?
I am a registrant with TICO but I have an out-of-province Call Centre. Do the Education Standards affect me?
I work in the back office in accounting-but every once in a while I must contact a client to clarify a payment. Do I therefore have to write the TICO Education Standards exam?
I am an agency Supervisor. Which exam(s) must I write?
When did the Education Standards come into effect?
How soon can I obtain the Study Manual and write the exam?
Is the Education Standards program mandatory ?

 

 

I am an educator at a TICO endorsed travel program. If my students simply have to pass the new Travel Counsellor Exam, does this render my Travel program irrelevant?

Can I include training for the TICO Education Standard requirements in my curriculum?

Can my students write the Travel Counsellor Exam prior to graduation so they can apply for positions in the industry with their "pass" letter?

We have a "simulated" travel agency in our travel program, which is open to consumers. While students give travel advice under the supervision of an educator, the consumers must go to a travel agency to actually purchase any travel services. In this case, must the students have passed the Travel Counsellor Exam before they can deal with the public?
As an Educator, I am teaching students about the Travel Counsellor Exam. Am I required to pass the Travel Counsellor Exam?
   

What are the components of the actual program?

Was the program material subject to industry input/ focus groups?

Will the study material (and exam) be available in French as well as English?

What is the cost of the program material?

General Information-Exam FAQs

What equipment is required to write the online Exam?

Are the exams closed book or open book?

Are the exams written in a Proctored environment?

Who qualifies as a Proctor?

Is there a time limit for writing the exams?
Are Sample Exams available?

I have not written an exam in 25 years. I was never good at writing exams as I get very nervous and I feel that if I do poorly on the Travel Counsellor Exam it could jeopardize my career.

I live in Kenora - do I have to travel to Thunder Bay or Toronto to
write the exam(s)?

I have a disability. Will some allowance be made to accommodate
my specific needs?

The Travel Counsellor Exam

Who must write the Travel Counsellor Exam?
What is the format of the Travel Counsellor Exam?

The Supervisor/Manager Exam

Who must write the Supervisor/Manager Exam?
What is the format of the Supervisor/Manager Exam?
I need to write both exams. Is it possible to take the Travel Counsellor Exam and the Supervisor/Manager Exam at the same time?

Pass/Fail

What if I fail? (Re-Writes) Who will know?

How is the Pass Mark determined?
What is the Pass Mark on the exam?
Why is the Pass Mark kept confidential?

The Cost

What is the cost of the Travel Counsellor Exam?

What is the cost of the Supervisor/Manager Exam?

What is the cost of the Combination Travel Counsellor and Supervisor/Manager Exam?

FAQ about Key Issues

Q Why are Education Standards necessary?
A

Since TICO was established, they have identified hundreds of complaints and situations that have arisen due to the lack of knowledge or misinformation about the rules governing the industry. These rules, embodied in the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 26/05, spell out the role of the agency and wholesaler and touch on vital issues of 'obligation to the client' and 'due diligence'. TICO is being proactive and instituting a basic course to ensure that there is a level playing field and that all registrants will be familiar with the Act and Regulation. This will, in the long run, save consumers, agencies and wholesalers a lot of stress, a lot of time, and even a lot of money.
 

Q Is TICO testing us on basic travel industry knowledge?
A

There is no 'basic knowledge test'. This is something that Travel & Tourism programs throughout the province look after very well. TICO's concern is with TICO matters: The enforcement of the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and the Regulation. The ultimate goal is consumer protection.
 

Q Once I get my Education Standards Certificate, can I sell travel services?
A

Successfully passing the TICO Education Standards Exam allows you to sell travel services or provide travel advice to the public on behalf of a TICO registered Ontario travel agency. It does not mean that you are licensed to sell travel services in Ontario. A pass certificate for the exam is not the same as a TICO Registration. If you are not working for a TICO registered travel agency and you wish to sell travel services in Ontario, you would need to contact TICO’s registration department to obtain a license before you can start selling travel services.

Q Where in Ontario Regulation 26/05 does it refer to TICO Education Standards?
A

If you are searching for the words "Education Standards", you will not find them. What you will find in Section 15 of the Regulation are references to 'knowledge'.

The first is in Sections 15(2) (a) and 15 (2) (b) along with the term "required certification". (Here, the term 'certification' refers to the acknowledged passing of an exam related to 'required' knowledge. It does NOT refer to the Certification Programs which lead to the CTC and CTM designations). 'Required' refers to what TICO - and the spirit of the Regulation – determine is necessary to fulfill the Travel Counsellor and Supervisor/Manager roles. The program really boils down to knowledge of the Act and Regulation.

Q I work in a Call Centre - do TICO Education Standards affect me?
A

Every person in Ontario who is selling travel services or providing travel advice to the public on behalf of an Ontario travel agency must, by law, meet the TICO Education Standards.
 

Q I am a registrant with TICO but I have an out-of-province Call Centre. Do TICO Education Standards affect me?
A

Yes. Individuals working at out-of-province call centres and after-hours emergency centres who are providing travel advice and selling or offering to sell travel services on behalf of an Ontario registered travel agency, must take and pass the Travel Counsellor Exam. This would not include individuals who are only taking messages and not responding to queries on behalf of the registrant. Further, it would not apply where the registrant has clearly informed the customer that it is a separate entity not regulated by TICO that will be dealing with the customer and taking payment in those situations and, as a result, the consumer protection provisions available in Ontario, such as the Compensation Fund, would not apply to any transactions between the customer and the unregistered entity.
 

Q I work in the back office in accounting, but every once in a while I must contact a client to clarify a payment. Do I therefore have to write the TICO Education Standards exam?
A

No. You are not dealing with the public as a travel counsellor. You are dealing with an issue that does not require travel-specific skills. If however, you are asked from time to time to speak with clients about travel, then you will be required to pass the Travel Counsellor exam.
 

Q I am an agency Supervisor. Which exam(s) must I write?
A

Every person who is selling or offering to sell travel services or providing travel advice on behalf of an Ontario registered travel agency must, by law, pass the Travel Counsellor Exam. This includes Supervisor/Managers.

The second level of the program is for supervisors and managers.  Every travel agency is required to name a Supervisor/Manager on their application for registration or renewal.  This individual is the Supervisor/Manager “on record” with TICO.  An individual that has not been approved as a Supervisor/Manager by TICO and who wishes to act as the Supervisor/Manager on record with TICO must write and pass the Supervisor/Manager Exam. 

Please note that all supervisors and managers or other individuals who may wish to advance in the industry in the future are welcome and encouraged to take the exam.   A combination exam will be available for those wishing to write both the Travel Counsellor and the Supervisor/Manager exams at the same time.   (80 multiple choice questions, in total).

Q When did the Education Standards come into effect?
A July 1, 2009
 
Q How soon can I obtain the Study Manual and write the exam?
A

The Study Manual is available as a free PDF download on the TICO (www.tico.ca) website. TICO requires a minimum of 14 days between the time a candidate registers to write the exam on a specific date, and the actual exam sitting. Please note that candidates should not sit the TICO Education Standard exam(s) without prior study of the Manual.
 

Q Is the Education Standards program mandatory?
A

Yes. It is mandated by the Travel Industry Act, 2002. Failure to comply with the TICO education requirements could result in some form of administrative or disciplinary action being taken by the Registrar against the Travel Agent.
 

FAQ for Travel Schools

Q I am an educator at a TICO endorsed travel program. If my students simply have to pass the new Travel Counsellor Exam, does this render my Travel program irrelevant?
A

No. The TICO Education Standards test knowledge of The Travel Industry Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 26/05. They do not test basic travel knowledge. Employers looking for well-educated entry-level staff will still choose graduates of endorsed travel programs, where a full, rounded knowledge of the travel industry is provided.
 

Q Can I include training for TICO's Education Standard requirements in my curriculum?
A

Yes – and this is highly recommended.
 

Q Can my students write the Travel Counsellor Exam prior to graduation so they can apply for positions in the industry with their "pass" letter?
A

Yes. TICO will work with Ontario Travel Programs so the students can be tested prior to graduation.
 

Q If my students are involved in a work placement and are asked to answer questions from consumers, are they allowed to do this without having first passed the Travel Counsellor Exam?
A

No. The Students would be required to have already passed the Travel Counsellor Exam prior to any work placements where they will be dealing with the public and selling travel services to consumers.
 

Q We have a "simulated" travel agency in our travel program, which is open to consumers. While students give travel advice under the supervision of an educator, the consumers must go to a travel agency to actually purchase any travel services. In this case, must the students have passed the Travel Counsellor Exam before they can 'deal with the public'?
A

As long as no travel services are being sold and no remuneration is being received, the students would not be required to have passed the Travel Counsellor Exam. The simulated travel agency is a mock environment where the students can practice advising consumers about travel services. If the consumer decides to go to a travel agency to actually book a trip, the travel agent will be responsible for ensuring that the individual is provided with all the required information and disclosures as they would with any other booking.
 

Q As an Educator, I am teaching students about the Travel Counsellor Exam. Am I required to pass the Travel Counsellor Exam?
A

If you are only teaching students and are not involved in the actual selling of travel services, you would not be required to pass the Travel Counsellor Exam. However in the spirit of 'leadership by example' and to appreciate the Travel Counsellor Exam process, educators and instructors are encouraged to write the exam.
 

   

FAQ about the Program Material

Q What are the components of the actual program?
A

The program consists of a Study Manual and exams. The Study Manual is divided into two sections. Modules 1-5 correspond with the areas in the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and the Regulation that will be tested on the Travel Counsellor Exam. Modules 6-9 relate to areas that the Supervisor/Manager must know and the questions on the Supervisor/Manager Exam. (Refer to the FAQ on Key Issues)

While travel counsellors will only need to concentrate on the first five modules for exam purposes, they are strongly urged to read through the entire Study Manual to get an overview of the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 26/05.
 

Q Was the program material subject to industry input/ focus groups?
A

The material in the program is geared toward a proper understanding of the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and the Regulation, as they affect both the travel agent and the consumer. It is written in an easy-to-read, non-legal format, for easy understanding. 

TICO has an Education Standards Committee in place, which thoroughly reviewed the material in the Study Manual, and in turn, reported to the TICO Board, which is comprised of appointed and elected representatives of the Ontario travel industry. The TICO exam was Pilot Tested. As well, under the leadership of Assessment Strategies Inc. (ASI), every exam question along with the four possible responses (the correct response to the question plus three distractors) underwent scrutiny by ASI, the Education Standards Committee, and the TICO Board.
 

Q  Is the study material (and exam) be available in French as well as English?
A

Yes.

Q What is the cost of the program material?
A

There is no cost for the PDF download of the Study Manual. Candidates who wish to purchase a hard copy of the Study Manual may do so for a fee of $15.00 from TICO. 

The Travel Counsellor Exam registration fee is $35.00.

The Supervisor/Manager Exam registration fee is $35.00.

The Combined Travel Counsellor and Supervisor/Manager Exam registration fee is $50.00.

FAQs about The Exam, Proctors and Fees

General Information
 
Q What equipment is required to write the online Exam?
A

The minimum recommended computer equipment required for writing the online exam consists of:

  • An Internet connection (preferably high speed)
  • Browser Requirements:
    • Internet Explorer 5.5 or greater OR
    • Netscape 6.0 or higher OR
    • Firefox 1.0 or higher
    • Screen Size Requirements: Screen resolution of 800 X 600 or greater
    • Test the compatibility of your computer(s) by going to the ASI Test Site at http://www.asitest.ca/system_test_e.htm Click on Support at the bottom of the page, and then click on 'Compatibility'. This feature checks the computer system to make sure it is compatible for running the on-line test.
Q Is the exam closed book or open book?
A

The exam is closed book. It will test the candidates understanding of the material. It will not ask, "In what section of the Regulation will you find....."

 

Q Is the exam written in a Proctored environment?
A

Yes. Candidates may write the exam anytime they choose and any place they choose as long as they have a computer, an online connection, a browser and a Proctor. Proctors are discussed, below. TICO has also arranged for a few Proctored Venues for those candidates who prefer the convenience of having the venue, the computers and a proctor provided for them.
 

Q Who qualifies as a Proctor?
A

Download the Proctor Guide 

A Proctor is an impartial 'supervisor' for the writing of the exam. His or her responsibility is to:

  • ensure the integrity of the writing of the exam
  • make certain there are no disruptions
  • check the candidate's photo identification to ensure that they are the actual candidate registered to write the exam
  • make sure that no sharing of information among candidates takes place during the exam, and
  • use established procedures to deal with issues that may arise during the writing of the exam.

The key to finding a Proctor is to ensure that there is no conflict of interest

  • 'Conflict of Interest' in this context, means that the Proctor does not work for the same agency/organization as those who are writing the exam, and that there is no relationship between a Proctor and a candidate that could call into question the impartiality of the Proctor (eg spouse, relative, business partner etc).

  • The Proctor must also be prepared to review, understand and comply with their role and responsibilities as set out in the Proctor Guide .

  • The Proctor application should be completed by the Proctor, after he/she has read through the 20-Page Proctor Guide.

    Bullet  View the online proctor application form

The Proctor Guide  has been designed to cover the following information::

  • Who can Proctor
  • The Proctor's Role and Responsibilities Before the Exam
  • The Proctor's Role and Responsibilities on the Day of the Exam
  • Sample Welcome Script
  • Sample Instruction Script
  • Guidelines Concerning Irregular Incidents
  • The TICO Exam Candidate Log
  • Contact Information
Q Is there a time limit for writing the exam?
A
There is a 90-minute time limit for writing the Travel Counsellor Exam.
There will be a 60 minute time limit for the Supervisor/Manager Exam.
There will be a 150 minute time limit for the Combined Travel Counsellor and Supervisor/Manager Exam.
Q Are Sample Exams available?
A Yes. Sample exams for both the Travel Counsellor Exam, and for the Supervisor/Manager Exam are included in the Study Manual, along with instructions on how to check your answers on the TICO website.
 
Q I have been selling travel for 25 years but have not written an exam in 25 years. I was never good at writing exams as I get very nervous and I feel that if I do poorly on the Travel Counsellor Exam it could jeopardize my career.
A

TICO will do all they can to offer programs, advice and suggestions on how to prepare candidates for the exam. This could consist of completing the sample exam, taking a preparation course, or speaking to a mentor who has already passed the exam. While TICO will provide as much assistance as possible, the bottom line is that the Travel Counsellor Exam is mandatory.

Q I live in Kenora-do I have to travel to Thunder Bay or Toronto to write the exam?
A No, exams are written on-line, so they are available when and where the candidate chooses.
 
Q I have special needs. Will some allowance be made to accommodate my specific needs?
A

Yes. Kindly fill out the Special Needs Accommodation Form  and fax it to TICO, just after you register online for the TICO Exam. As long as TICO is given at least 14 days notice, special arrangements can be made for candidates with special needs.

The Travel Counsellor Exam FAQs

Q Who must write the Travel Counsellor Exam?
A

Every person in Ontario who is working for a retail travel agency and is selling travel services or providing travel advice to the public must, by law, meet the industry's Education Standards. This includes employees and contractors as well as supervisor/managers.

Q What is the format of the Travel Counsellor Exam?
A

This exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions. It is only available in an on-line format to ensure that all Ontario registrants are able to write it, wherever they work and at a time of their choosing.

The Supervisor/Manager Exam FAQs

Q Who must write the Supervisor/Manager Exam?
A

The second level of the program is for supervisors and managers.  Every travel agency is required to name a Supervisor/Manager on their application for registration or renewal.  This individual is the Supervisor/Manager “on record” with TICO.  An individual that has not been approved as a Supervisor/Manager by TICO and who wishes to act as the Supervisor/Manager on record with TICO must write and pass the Supervisor/Manager Exam. 

Please note that all supervisors and managers or other individuals who may wish to advance in the industry in the future are welcome and encouraged to take the exam.   A combination exam is available for those wishing to write both the Travel Counsellor and the Supervisor/Manager exams at the same time. 

Q What is the format of the Supervisor/Manager Exam?
A

The Supervisor/Manager Exam, by itself, will consists of 30 multiple choice questions. It is only available in an on-line format to ensure that all supervisor/managers are able to write it, wherever they work and at a time of their choosing.

 

Q I need to write both exams. Is it possible to take the Travel Counsellor Exam and the Supervisor/Manager Exam at the same time?
A

Yes. A combined Travel Counsellor and Supervisor/Manager Exam will be available. The exam will consist of 80 multiple choice questions.

Pass/Fail-Exam FAQs

Q What if I fail? Can I re-write the exam? Who will know?
A

Exam results are only reported to the individual who wrote the exam. Privacy laws require that TICO obtain the explicit permission of a candidate if that candidate wants their results disclosed to a third party. Of course the candidate is free to disclose their results to anyone they choose.

  • Third Party Notification. At the time of registration, a candidate may request that their exam results be sent directly to a third party (eg. Supervisor, trainer etc), by filling out the Third Party Authorization Form . In each instance, TICO requires signed permission from the candidate. It is up to the candidate to forward this signed permission to TICO. TICO will not contact candidates to ask them if information can be released to a third party.
  • NOTE: After a candidate writes the Exam and receives their results, it is the candidate's responsibility to communicate their results, if they so choose, to a third party. TICO will not entertain requests to forward results to a 3rd party after they have already been mailed to a candidate, however this service may be available with an administration fee attached.

There is no limit to the number of times a candidate may re-write the exam.

The following waiting times will apply to re-writes:

1st re-write = 14 day waiting period
2nd re-write = 1 month waiting period
3rd and subsequent re-writes = 1 month waiting period

Q How is the Pass Mark determined?
A

Each exam has a unique pass mark. This is because exams are built by assembling a random group of questions from a larger bank of questions. Each question has been reviewed and rated by an expert industry committee to determine how difficult the question is for a candidate with the minimum required amount of knowledge, and how likely it is for that candidate to select the correct answer. Obviously the harder the question or more technical - the more likely people will be to fail it. Likewise, if the question is easier, there will be a higher percentage of people who will select the correct answer.

Therefore, each question on the exam has its own level of difficulty and expected % pass mark assigned. Once all the exam questions are determined for the specific test form, then, the individual question pass marks are averaged and the overall exam pass % is determined for that form. This is called the examination standard. Since each exam will be made up of a different mix of questions the pass mark of each form will vary. The average pass mark is roughly 70%.
 

Q What is the Pass Mark on the exam?
A If your score is higher than or equal to the exam standard, you will be assigned a Pass result; if your score is lower than the standard, you will be assigned a Fail result.
 
Q Why is the Pass Mark kept confidential?
A

Each exam form has a different exam standard (% pass mark) so that all candidates are treated equally in terms of an exam level of difficulty. Therefore the actual pass mark has no specific bearing other than to determine if the requirement of passing the exam has been met or not met (as in the case of a fail). A report of the pass mark would be of no significance since it could not be compared to results from another exam form.

The Cost -Exam FAQs

Q What is the cost of the Travel Counsellor Exam?
A

Registration for the Travel Counsellor exam is $35.00.

The re-write fee is $24.00.

There are no discounts available to candidates who prefer not to download the Study Manual. There are no group writing discounts.
 

Q What is the cost of the Supervisor/Manager Exam?
A

Registration for the Supervisor/Manager exam is $35.00.

The re-write fee is $24.00.

Q What is the cost of the Combined Travel Counsellor and Supervisor/Manager Exam?
A

Registration for the combined Travel Counsellor and Supervisor/Manager exam is $50.00.